Communication Tips For Parents


How do you talk with your children; have you ever just sat down and thought about it?

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | August 6, 2014

Meaningful conversations with teens actually start when they are much younger – but it is never too late to begin.

If you take a walk through the neighborhood – a store, school, school and so on – and observe how other people talk with their children you can probably pick out areas in which you could make improvements for yourself. You may see parents in a hurry, rolling their eyes, refusing to buy something, ignoring kids or maybe even getting physical with their child.

Children understand the difference between ‘talking at’ and ‘talking with’ very early.

Talking to our children becomes more of a habit than we realize unless we change the talk patterns. Here are a few quick tips for communicating better with children:

  • When your child speaks to you, stop what you are doing, look them in the eye and listen. Stopping what you are doing shows respect, that you are ready to listen and what they say is important to you. Hearing, what someone says is improved by looking at the person as they speak. To test this out, have your child go in another room where they can hear but not see you. Give them instructions to write down on making a perfect boiled egg and then a deviled egg sandwich. Now read what they jotted down and see how closely the instructions match.
  • Talk with children, not at them. Conversation where ideas are exchanged rather than one-sided instructions or demands, are more conducive to cooperation and understanding. Talking at kids does not encourage conversation. Engaging their attention by asking questions can help and teaches children to do likewise.
  • Children know when adults treat them as invisible beings; when children are invisible they do not build a connection. If you speak to an adult and their child is nearby then speak to them in a normal voice, even if only to say ‘hello.’ They will feel valued and the experience becomes part of learning social graces and good manners.
  • Listen and talk with purpose. Rather than a robotic approach, listen actively when children speak: Ask questions to make sure you understand and then repeat back what you believe they are saying. When you give children important information or instructions have them repeat back to you what they understand. Doing this when needed can save many mistakes or hurt feelings.

Learning to listen with purpose is as important for parents as children.

By practicing these tips anyone can improve communications with children and as any parent knows, communication becomes more important with each passing year. It’s never too late so start today and build on the conversation style you wish to have for the future. It really is that simple.

My own communication epiphany came several years ago while I was attending Parents Anonymous. I thought my daughter Chelsey was causing the undue stress and aggravation. Read what I did and the surprising outcome below:

Children Being Bad: Caught On Tape!

What changes would you like to see in conversations with your child?

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Ed Yourdon Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Shana Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Nongbri Family Pix Under Flicker/CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered extensively for more than twenty years in children's and families' issues with Parents Anonymous. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and the Soup to Nuts blog and "Parent Rap - Soup to Nuts" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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15 Responses to Communication Tips For Parents

  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    Like

  2. Wonderful tips Jackie.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    I am converted to Judaism. It is nice that you are too. Your blog is very helpful. A generation of kids are indebted to you.

    Like

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      I am not Jewish but I have many friends who are. I try to treat every person the same no matter what their religion might be.

      Thank you for sharing the information; the piece was a bit brief because I am covered up with other work at the moment. I was explaining to a mutual friend of ours that I have not been able to spend as much time reading as I usually do. I hope everyone understands that blogging is a small portion of the work I do. I hope my schedule returns to normal very soon. Again, thank you, Barbara.❤:)

      Like

  4. ‘Listen and talk with purpose’ is so important in communicating with our children. Thank you for the reminder. I know I’m guilty of ‘half-listening’ on occasions when I’m busy and trying to do several things at once. We all like to be heard and spoken to attentively.

    Like

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Right, Carolyn, I think many of us are guilty of ‘half-listening’ because we are on auto-pilot much of the time. The plumber calls so we pay attention but when our child calls we are not as attentive. Thank you for that honest comment. ~Jackie

      Like

  5. Communication is the key! My son, now 24 and I have always tried to have an open dialogue. It truly made things a lot easier when he was growing up. Even to this very day. I really enjoy your blog, so glad I found it. Great tips!

    Like

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